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Smooth Monotone Contribution Games

37 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2006  

Steven A. Matthews

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 15, 2006


A monotone game is a multistage game in which no player can lower her action in any period below its previous level. A motivation for the monotone games of this paper is dynamic voluntary contribution to a public project. Each player's utility is a strictly concave function of the public good, and quasilinear in the private good. The main result is a description of the limit points of (subgame perfect) equilibrium paths as the period length shrinks. The limiting set of such profiles is equal to the undercore of the underlying static game - the set of profiles that cannot be blocked by a coalition using a smaller profile. A corollary is that the limiting set of achievable profiles does not depend on whether the players can move simultaneously or only in a round-robin fashion. The familiar core is the efficient subset of the undercore; hence, some but not all profiles that are efficient and individually rational can be nearly achieved when the period length is small. As the period length shrinks, any core profile can be achieved in a "twinkling of the eye" - neither real-time gradualism nor inefficiency are necessary.

Keywords: dynamic games, monotone games, core, public goods, voluntary contribution, gradualism

JEL Classification: C7

Suggested Citation

Matthews, Steven A., Smooth Monotone Contribution Games (June 15, 2006). PIER Working Paper No. 06-018. Available at SSRN: or

Steven A. Matthews (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

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